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The Sensation of Tabloids

What are the Characteristics of a Tabloid?

  • News featuring celebrities, sex escapades, murder and gore, among all sorts of other scandals.
  • Tabloids are a key source of gossip in today’s culture.
  • Dramatic word use and colorful adjectives are typical.
  • The headlines typically have a certain shock factor.
  • Simple sentences and short paragraphs appeal to a larger group of people.
  • Stories are personal and appeal to people’s emotions.
  • Sometimes, entire stories are made up. For example, the sex/gore tabloids of the 1950s and ’60s were almost entirely fictional.
  • Answer the basica questions of journalism: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?
  • Sensationalism triumphs over factual reporting.


Headlines are the most important part of articles. In tabloids, they often are shocking and make the reader anxious to read on. A headline must:

  1. Clearly tell the reader what the story is about.
  2. Draw the reader in–interest will make them want to read on.
  3. Be on the front page, and be striking enough to grab the eyes of passer-bys.
  4. Fit into a limited space but still be bold and stand out.
  5. A headline must attempt to convey a complete message.

Some tools to use in order to attract the readers attention:

  • Alliteration (“Celebrity Big Blubber”)
  • Slang (“How Obama Blew Year 1”)
  • Misspellings of words (“It’s the Sun Wot Won It”)
  • Rhymes (“Pregnancy Diary”)
  • Puns (“From Russia With Gloves”)


Tabloids are typically a hybrid of newspapers and magazines. Some are the same size as newspapers and printed on newsprint. Others, such as Star, are printed on glossy paper, in color throughout, and bound like a magazine. Just like in both newspapers and magazines, tabloids have a table of contents and are broken up into different sections. Typically, tabloid journalists take small news and expand upon it. The best stories to focus on are ones about celebrities and politicians, or news of the just plain weird. Tabloid articles tend to sound very dramatic and are full of quotes from “reliable sources.”

These same components apply to different mediums of tabloids, such as television. E-News is basically a spoken form of what we see in publications such as In Touch and Star This is a perfect example of what kind of news tabloids are concerned with. As one internet meme says:”[Rover] finds evidence of water on Mars. Honey Boo Boo gets more attention on the news.”


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